Sometimes working in the medical field is weird. This is probably because sometimes people can be pretty weird. Doctors, nurses and, in the worst cases, morticians can sometimes find weird things in bodies, because people have an odd tendency to put things where they really shouldn’t have. Everyone loves a weird medical story, right? Well, this is the right place for that, because these medical professionals went ahead and shared with us the weird and gross stuff that they’ve found in bodies. Strap in, and proceed with caution because these stories can get not only weird, but gross. Reddit doctors, nurses, morticians, and medical examiners have shared the 35 weirdest things they’ve found in bodies.
I worked in medicine as an X-ray tech/medical assistant. One day we had a patient come in complaining of a stomach ache. Considering the time of the year, it wasn’t an abnormal complaint to have come in our family practice. So we run him through the normal tests, urinalysis and an abdominal X-ray.
Well, he was a shorter fella so I had a lot of room in the film. This kind of X-ray is one large shot centered on your belly button, it’s mostly used to see how full of poop you are.
I went to the darkroom to process his film when something weird could be seen near his butt. There was definitely a lot of poop backed up but I couldn’t tell what was causing the blockage. I showed the doc the film and she burst out laughing. The doctor I worked with was usually stone-faced and serious about these kinds of things. So it was odd, we were all confused.
She asked me to go into the room with her while she asked him some questions. The first thing she asked him was what he shoved up his butt. I was so taken aback by this statement I almost missed what he said.
You see, this 40-year-old man had diarrhea the week before and decided to shove a tampon up his butt to stop it. He tried to take it out but the string got caught, and then he simply forgot about it.
We had to remove it. It was disgusting, and I never did another procedure ever again.
Doctor here, general practitioner and young, so not many experiences.
I had this kid (8) and his mother come to the pediatric unit complaining about how her kid had a cold.
As soon as they came in, they filled the room with stench, like a wound festering, that humid and rancid smell. Kid had a runny nose, but secretions were coming from a single nostril. Upon examination, we found the sinus cavities were filled with cotton.
Apparently, the kid had this funny idea of stuffing one nostril with cotton and shoving it up inside with a stick as far as he could. We had to call the specialist to remove a lot of VERY deep cotton that was, of course, a picnic field for bacteria.
Want Mayo With That?
My dad had a patient who “slipped and fell” on a whole mayonnaise jar.
Young man comes in complaining of a headache. I work in radiology.
We ask for history. Nothing to report, he says.
We scan his head. CT shows a bullet rattling loose inside his sphenoid sinus (kind of between the nasal cavity and the brain).
I asked the guy: “Have you ever been shot in the face?”
“Oh, yeah, I guess I forgot to mention that.”
A Real Pain in the Tooth
A real grub inside a tooth. An old patient came to us with long-term and severe pain in her tooth. The doctor extracted the tooth and put it into a tray. After 1 minute, we saw a grub crawling out from the tooth. This woman had lived with it for at least 6 months.
I had a patient who had an interesting story about his abdominal pain and constipation. CT showed a can of hairspray that had been inserted rectally, but which had migrated up his sigmoid to the ascending colon. It had to be removed surgically, rectoscopes could not grasp the end of the can.
That’s Not Vegetarian
The weirdest thing was in a woman’s intestine: a dead mouse. Tiny little thing…obviously never got the chance to ask how the mouse got there, as this was post-mortem. Definitely unexpected though…
Buckle It Up
My father owns a crematorium, and we once cremated a man (who had no clothes on and was not in any container) and along with his ashes came a massive belt buckle. I kid you not, we have no idea how it got in him but it was definitely there.
I work as a statistician in a major hospital, so I see and catalog A LOT of weird things.
Worst thing I’d seen was someone coming in complaining of leg pain and showing signs of septic shock. After examination the doctor orders scans, which show there are two metal rods (one in each leg) that weren’t in the patient’s file. Turns out the patient had gone to Asia to get a height altering surgery and the “Doctor” there had used items you’d pick up from the local hardware store to fix the bones after breaking them.
After extensive surgery, the patient lost the lower part of one leg and was lucky to keep the second.
Here’s another weird one…three golf balls in a man’s stomach. His cause of death was lung cancer. Still trying to figure out how he ate golf balls/how long they were in there, considering he was on life support for two weeks before he died.
Too Much Water
When my mom was a mortician, I would hang out in the mortuary watching TV. Her boss showed me a guy who had retained water and drowned. His genitals were the size of a grapefruit. Not the most pleasant thing to see at age 15. When you poked him, he moved like a water bed.
Pretty memorable to me. I’m a doctor who was working in anesthesiology.
An emergency came in the afternoon. Apparently, the patient is a fisherman and got into a fight with his fisherman friend.
The patient was impaled by a spear gun. The spear entered just lateral to his belly button and came out just above his right hip.
He actually held this 6 ft long spear going through his body and walked into the emergency room by himself. When it was time to put him under, he wasn’t scared or anxious. He said, “just fix me up so I can go find that guy.”
Neurologist here, we don’t get as many cool stories as the ER docs. However, when I was a medical student, we had a male cadaver with very large and very tiger-stripe-tattooed genitalia. This was the only tattoo this man had, and it was very unexpected when it came time for genital dissection. Obviously, this was saved by the staff for use on all of our anatomy exams: you walk around the room to different parts/bodies and identify whatever is tagged, and this specimen was always identifiable by the only laughing medical student as they kept rotating around the room.
I saw a patient with endometriosis (lining of inner uterus cells) in her nose. Meaning that she would get epistaxis (bleeding from nose) every month or so related to her menstrual periods.
Thank You For Smoking
In my anatomy lab, my groups’ cadaver had died from systemic complications of stage 4 lung cancer, and when we got to the lungs they were two rock hard, necrotic blackened masses that looked nothing like the other cadaver’s pink and spongy lungs.
My anatomy prof took one lung out and wrung it, resulting in this putrid black goo flowing out of the lung.
As he was draining the lung, he mentioned, “This. This is what happens when you smoke”
I work in orthopedics. A kid had a fracture we reduced in office and splinted. After a few weeks with proper healing, he’s transitioned into a cast. Usually we see patients every week and re-X-ray it to ensure no displacement.
First week post-cast application the X-rays show two solid circular objects blocking the fracture. Turns out the six-year-old was hiding 50 cents he stole from his brother. Not that crazy, but I just always find it funny how far siblings go to make the other mad.
Two For One
One of our cadavers had two spinal cords, AKA split spinal cord malformation.
Did an autopsy once where the patient’s plasma separated from the blood. One giant plasma ball. It was really weird.
My grandmother has 2 stomachs, like a cow. Her doctor asked if he could publish an essay about this, and she agreed. I have searched and searched and never found the actual article, but it’s still pretty interesting. She is like 5’2″ and 100lbs so, no, she isn’t overweight or excessively hungry. She also found out she was pregnant with my mom after having a tumor removed from her stomach.
Lots and Lots of Blood
Interned with a medical examiner and we had a case where the death was very, very sudden. He didn’t really complain about any pain or anything, and then he was gone. We open him up and there’s blood behind a kidney. Almost an entire liter of blood in the cavity, with no sign at all of internal bleeding.
My mother-in-law miscarried twice before she had my husband and his twin brother. She had some kind of cyst or protrusion in her uterus that, once one of the previous fetuses got to a certain size in the growth process, would rupture the fetus’ amniotic sac, causing the fetus to perish. So when she became pregnant with twins, she knew inevitably she would sadly lose them at that stage.
The timeframe comes and goes, fetuses are still ok and growing normally. Comes time to have them (early as with twins) and lo and behold, not only are they in the same amniotic sac, but the other twin’s sac is around the one they shared. They were double bubbled.
They had twin transfusion syndrome, so no one at the time had a moment to think about it (life or death emergency at that time), but the fact that they were double wrapped, and thus doubly protected from rupturing, is more than likely the only reason they made it that far. Just an amazing story, I think.
In med school I had to do a pelvic exam on a woman during my emergency room rotation and found a meth pipe. She forgot she put it there during a traffic stop.
I was a combat medic in the Army. Not super, super uncommon (about 1 in 10,000 people have it), but I had a buddy with situs inversus. All of his major internal organs were reversed (heart on the right side instead of the left, for example). As soon as he got to the unit, it was the first thing he told me. Wanted to make sure if he got hurt I wasn’t curious as to why he had no heart, I guess.
This week I saw a patient with endometriosis in her lungs.
Somehow, womb-lining cells had travelled to her thorax and colonised on the lung. She previously had symptoms of coughing up blood while menstruating, but because the endometriosis was so severe, she was on the pill to stop her periods entirely.
Then she came off them to have a baby, and after the birth, with her hormones all over the place, she developed two pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lung), and a few weeks after that, three successive pneumothoraxes (collapsed lung). The womb cells had tried to shed, and made a hole between the airways and the sac surrounding the lung, letting air escape.
She’s deciding now whether or not to let the surgeons cut out the part of her lung with the endometrial cells, to go back on the pill for life, or to have a full hysterectomy and remove her ovaries. Tough choice at 32.
During an autopsy, we found a plastic shamrock that was about 3-4″ big in some guy’s stomach.
Another guy had the biggest piece of steak in his throat. Cause of death was obviously choking.
Wrong Cause of Death
Worked in a funeral home, had a friend at the medical examiner’s office. A father was thought to have died of a heart attack and he came to our funeral home. Next morning, the pathologist comes in and looks at the notes. Calls us in a panic. We rush the body to the medical examiner’s office. A few weeks later, I ask my friend what happened. The guy was actually murdered and was shot.
Not a pathologist, but I work in a Coroner’s office. On more than one occasion we have directed a post-mortem on someone who has died abroad, often due to heart-related issues. I once got a phone call from the pathologist after he had opened the body to examine the heart:
“This person died from a heart attack, yes?”
“You want me to examine the heart?”
“Well, where is it?”
You see, some other countries routinely remove organs when they are determining a cause of death, and then the body is embalmed and sent back to their home country. We still often have to confirm the cause of death, so I’ve spent a lot of my time chasing missing organs around the world.
Two Babies for the Price of One
My brother and I are (sort of) twins, but I was born a month premature. My brother was actually a few days overdue. My mom got pregnant with my brother, and a month or so later she got pregnant with me. Her body released another egg despite her already being pregnant. Because of the way we were conceived, my brother shoved me up under our mom’s ribs. Her heartbeat concealed mine, so it was only a month before my brother’s due date that the doctor finally realized that there were two of us. This was in 1985, and ultrasounds weren’t nearly as good as they are now.
Heard this from an emergency doctor friend of mine a while ago. Female patient comes in complaining of severe abdominal pain, nurses take vitals, ask questions, etc. Eventually, my friend sees her and, after a few questions, he has her lift her shirt.
The “severe abdominal pain” on the chart was in fact due to a gash so severe that part of her intestines were sticking out of her. No one had noticed and she hadn’t thought to mention that her organs had started leaking out. In fact, she seemed just as surprised as he was.
To Infinity and Beyond
I work in a theater with lots of other nurses who have worked in ER, and one told me about a woman who came in with a Buzz Lightyear inside her… she had been using it to pleasure herself, and the wings had released and it got stuck.
Escape From the ER
A guy came in for an outpatient MRI of his cervical spine. On the form where it asks if he ever had any metal in his body, he selected “no.” Same with a verbal questionnaire. Also, we do a keyword search in the patient’s hard chart for the term “foreign body” in case it’s documented. Nothing came up.
He lays down, and I start taking images while talking to him through the speaker. During one of the image sets, he starts pounding on the inside of the scanner and screaming. Figured he was claustrophobic, so I stop the machine and get him out. Immediately he jumps up and starts talking nonsense and runs into the wall, screaming he needs to get away from the “ocean.” I call overhead for emergency room staff to come down and security as he’s flailing. He continued screaming and running into the wall before we restrained him.
The staff rush down, and he’s talking a mile a minute and explaining how he is inside of the poster of the beach that covers the entire wall in the room he’s in. Basically, he’s scared out of his mind and hallucinating. Security restrains him and he’s taken down to get an X-ray of his skull.
There was a BB in his frontal lobe. It had just enough metal left in it to travel a few millimeters into his brain.
In the emergency department, he kept trying to escape and was very fast. While unrestrained, he got up (somehow convinced the guard he was “better”). Patient bolted out of his room into the main hallway. A code was called for a lost patient. For over an hour nobody could find him, until a nurse looked into a large storage closet. Poor guy was found in a pool of blood. He crashed into a large mirror that was leaning on the wall and had severe lacerations on his neck, face, and arms.
Efforts were made to transfuse him but it was too late. Still haunts me how a simple BB from 40 years earlier could do that. Discovered his brother accidentally shot him with a BB gun when they were kids.
A mummified fetus. I was working in Africa and the usually very stoic Congolese surgeons called me into theater, gagging. The patient was an elderly woman with a protruding abdominal mass. When they opened it, they found that it was a long, long dead mummified fetus which, as a result of an ectopic pregnancy, had somehow managed to both wall off after it died and somehow avoid killing the mother. Her body had encapsulated the alien tissue and over the years, it had slowly eroded her anterior abdominal wall to the point where it finally caused her to have enough symptoms to get something done about it.
It was horrific and the smell was worse.
Happily, though, the patient survived the procedure and just left the surgical team with a .. memory.